Smart Building Automation Evolution

Timeline linking articles depicting our evolution as an industry Curated by Ken Sinclair & Therese Sullivan.

Reflects back to 1900 but actively starts with birth of DDC in the mid 1970. Starting in about 1999, leading Building Automation professionals were early collaborators in the effort to put real time data in service to better interior comfort and energy efficiency. They recognized their role as catalysts of this paradigm shift and set to work aligning all the necessary people, processes and technologies. Here's a timeline of their achievements. All the thought-leadership articles, commercial announcements, and press releases used to compile this timeline were found in the database of the online magazine automatedbuildings.com.

oBIX Unbound: Web Services Standard Complete

Aaron Hansen, Chairman of the oBIX XML Standards subcommittee and Tridium spokesperson, reports that the standard is available for public review. He explains that oBIX is much more than just a way to describe points, historical trends and alarms. “It is an extensible model that describes other models - a meta-model. oBIX allows control vendors to fully describe their proprietary systems and allow enterprises to discover non-standard data and invent new applications for it.” Read Hansen’s description of the oBIX Architecture.

LonTalk

In 1999 the communications protocol (then known as LonTalk) was submitted to ANSI and accepted as a standard for control networking (ANSI/CEA-709.1-B). Echelon's power line and twisted pair signaling technology was also submitted to ANSI for standardization and accepted. Since then, ANSI/CEA-709.1 has been accepted as the basis for IEEE 1473-L (in-train controls), AAR electro-pneumatic braking systems for freight trains, IFSF (European petrol station control), SEMI (semiconductor equipment manufacturing), and in 2005 as EN 14908 (European building automation standard). The protocol is also one of several data link/physical layers of the BACnet ASHRAE/ANSI standard for building automation.

Death of the Controls Industry

Darren Wright, a Director at Arup, has released a video stream of his presentation on the history and future of the controls industry on youtube. It’s a very on-point statement on the topic from the viewpoint of an experienced building commissioning expert. His understanding of the development of control automation goes all the way back to ancient Greece, but he quickly advances to what is happening now—and that is open source control software. He predicts radical change in how controls are designed, installed and maintained over the life of a building, and when he says ‘Death of the Controls Industry,’ he means that part of the industry that relies on proprietary-protocol lock-in to limit the options of building owners and their partners in design, construction, operations and maintenance. As a further demonstration of its commitment to open-source building controls communities, Arup has just joined Project-Haystack as an Associate member. Here are a few key points from Darren Wright’s presentation:

A History of KNX

Getting Started (1990 – 1992) The History of Success began on the 5th of May, 1990 in Brussels, Belgium • 15 well-known European manufacturers of the electrical industry founded the European Installation Bus Association EIBA KNX Association International Page No. 3 April 13 KNX: The worldwide STANDARD for home & building control • Their idea was to make electronic installations with Bus Technology fit for the future

What is the Internet of Things?

In 1999 Kevin Ashton, then at P&G, coined the term ‘Internet of Things’. It was a new term, but not a new operation. It was known as pervasive computing, ubicomp, and ambient intelligence. The 90s database storage was too expensive. It is the Cloud, operational from 2000s, that enables #IoT. Buildings, cars, consumer products, and people become information spaces. We were entering a land where the environment became the interface, where we must learn anew how to make sense. Making sense is the ability to read data as data and not noise. Still this is the challenge we face today.  Why would we want an Internet of Things? We want it because it can offer us the best possible feedback on physical and mental health, the best possible resource allocation based on real time monitoring, best possible decision making on mobility patterns and the best possible alignments of local providers with global potential. Operationally this means that we can define Internet of Things as the seamless flow between the BAN (body area network): wearables, LAN (local area network): smart home, WAN (wide area network): connected car, and VWAN (very wide area network): the smart city.

Digital Addressable Lighting Interface

Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) is a trademark for network-based systems that control lighting in building automation. The underlying technology was established by a consortium of lighting equipment manufacturers as a successor for 0-10 V lighting control systems, and as an open standard alternative to Digital Signal Interface (DSI), on which it is based. DALI is specified by technical standards IEC 62386 and IEC 60929. Standards conformance ensures that equipment from different manufacturers will interoperate. The DALI trademark is allowed on devices that comply with the current standards when manufactured. Members of the AG DALI (founded by Philips lighting in 1984) were freely allowed to use the DALI trademark until DALI working party was dissolved on 30th March 2017[1]. Since 9th June 2017, Digital Illumination Interface Alliance (DiiA) certifies DALI equipment[2]. DiiA is a Partner Program of IEEE-ISTO.

Modbus is a serial communications protocol

Modbus From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Modbus is a serial communications protocol originally published by Modicon (now Schneider Electric) in 1979 for use with its programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Modbus has become a de facto standard communication protocol and is now a commonly available means of connecting industrial electronic devices.[1] The main reasons for the use of Modbus in the industrial environment are: developed with industrial applications in mind, openly published and royalty-free, easy to deploy and maintain, moves raw bits or words without placing many restrictions on vendors. Modbus enables communication among many devices connected to the same network, for example, a system that measures temperature and humidity and communicates the results to a computer. Modbus is often used to connect a supervisory computer with a remote terminal unit (RTU) in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. Many of the data types are named from its use in driving relays: a single-bit physical output is called a coil, and a single-bit physical input is called a discrete input or a contact. The development and update of Modbus protocols has been managed by the Modbus Organization[2] since April 2004, when Schneider Electric transferred rights to that organization.[3] The Modbus Organization is an association of users and suppliers of Modbus-compliant devices that advocates for the continued use of the technology.[4]

Change Agents Impacting Building & Facility Management

IoT I would be remiss if I did not mention IoT. IoT continues as a game changer; it is changing what we are delivering---how, when and where. However, realizing its potential starts with understanding the value and contribution it brings. IoT is as much about behavioral changes and business opportunity, not just technology. We need to operate and manage buildings based on outcomes, not output. IoT is not the objective of this transformation but the platform upon which to connect, collect and analyze data so we can measure and validate these outcomes. Building owners and operators should not “buy” IoT; they should purchase solutions to specific problems where IoT components are part of a solution. Data “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” -The Economist Customers are looking for faster, real-time analysis of the massive amount of data produced to perform smart decision-making. We are in an era where data technologies and analytics enable us to capture data from different sources including behavioral data, make it consistent and meaningful and use it across multiple applications. When it comes to data, the data produced from a device is now more valuable than the cost of the device. The use of data is now mandatory and no longer optional; if you aren’t collecting, storing, using, and learning from data, then you are not doing your job.

A 19 year index with connection to over 200 back issues

A second Timeline of our over 200 issue online from 1999. It is interesting how long we have been talking about some of this stuff

The IoT Future of Building Automation

Future automation will be a full embrace of IoT. Systems will be smarter, self-learning, edgy, innovative, and sophisticated. They will automatically configure and integrate new equipment so they can optimize themselves, self-manage and self-heal while reinventing purposeful, productive, desirable buildings and accommodations. Ken SinclairIt has been an amazing year of change. I am overwhelmed by the number of balls I have thrown in the air. AutomatedBuildings does not create change but is a catalysis and harbinger of change. It has been a time when the industry has wanted to shoot us as the messenger but is now coming to the realization and confirmation that IoT is for sure the future of Building Automation. IoT changes everything, embedding in our future the ability to hostel the people that fuel function, purpose, productivity, and innovation. New metrics will evolve, new IoT measured variables from the data from our buildings such as well-being, satisfaction, stress, innovation and contribution to corporate purpose, of course, comfort and energy efficiency are major factors but no longer the only parameters. The lighting LED revolution brings us the new tools to allow a closer personal relationship with light; it's color, it's art and amazing effects on the new metrics. This revolution coupled with our much talked about self-learning edge revolution sees every lighting fixture and air conditioning outlet becoming a self-learning device with automated interaction from the resident occupant's mobile device when detected. As the millenniums move out of mom's basement, university's dorms, coffee shops, and free wi-fi zones, it is their time. When they are requested to appear in the corporate cubical, they are questioning the purpose, location, and function of our existing buildings. If I am coming to this central big city location should it not look more like a hotel hostel? If in fact, the corporate is willing to house me at a hotel why would I not just work from there?. Why does the business office not look more like a hotel or a condo providing multi-functions including my well-being and environmental impact on the world? Why do I need to come daily to this environment with virtual tools all around us? The kids ask excellent questions and are leading a revolution within our revolution.

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